Employees prefer an old fashioned family style business culture, according to the Employee Outlook survey for spring 2015.

The recently published report produced by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in partnership with Halogen Software researches employment trends and in the latest report for the first time included questions on culture in the workplace.

As a garage owner, it seems, you may be inadvertently providing exactly the kind of working environment in which today’s employee would overwhelmingly prefer to work. More than half of those surveyed (55%) said they wanted to work in an organisation ‘with a family feel held together by loyalty and tradition’.

If you employ an apprentice, chances are you employ a millennial, those born in the early 80s to the late 90s, who are now establishing themselves in the workplace. The survey found those aged 18-24 wanted a more informal way of working and were not fans of the traditional hierarchical structure. Beware though, younger employees are more likely to be looking for another job than their older counterparts. Millennials are also less loyal so if you are employing a young apprentice, don’t expect them to stick around for years.

The report talks about how employers need to respond to the demand for a more paternalistic structure and an improved work life balance. As an employer of a small team of people, it is likely your so-called old fashioned approach to running a business is exactly the type of company in which the vast majority of us would like to work in the 21st century. If you are managing to combine a family business with some very modern processes, for example, effective yet easy to use software which makes your operation as smooth running as possible or advanced workshop equipment and diagnostic tools, your combination of old and new ticks several boxes for today’s employees.

The report also identifies some areas where all employers can improve with the weakest areas for managers being their lack of consultation with employees. It may be your business, but involving your employees on strategy or business decisions will boost engagement, accountability and ownership which can only be a good thing for your business performance. Less than two thirds (64%) are satisfied with their relationship with their manager, a slight decline over last year’s figure of 65%. Although, it’s good news for small businesses in this area too. Referred to as micro businesses in the survey, employing two to nine people, these workers report the highest levels of engagement with 64% said they felt engaged in the business in spring 2015 compared to 61% for the same time last year.

Those employed in micro businesses also report the highest levels of job satisfaction with a score of +75 and which is consistent with previous surveys. Women are more satisfied than men and older workers, aged 55 plus, are more satisfied than younger workers. The least satisfied employees are those aged 18-24 with a net job satisfaction score of +39, so if you do employ youngsters, especially apprentices, it could be worth giving them some additional attention, asking their opinions more often, ensuring they have a full understanding of the business and its goals or even giving them some extra training to increase their levels of engagement and satisfaction.

Whilst micro businesses score exceptionally well in many aspects of work, making them the first choice of employers for many, they are the lowest scorers when it comes to employee feedback with 29% saying they don’t  receive any feedback. The situation is not much better in small businesses where 28% said feedback was non-existent.

The report identifies a number of areas where bosses can improve, for example, respondents defined the two top characteristics of a good manager as fairness (29%) and honesty (32%). Objectives are seen as important and understanding them are seen as crucial to individual performance. However, 79% said they want their performance assessed as an individual not as part of a team.

Overall, garage owners who typically follow the model of a small, family run business are likely to have some of the most engaged people in Britain’s workforce. However, there’s always room for improvement and if you take on board some of the CIPD’s findings, your garage could well incorporate all the ingredients for a perfect workplace.

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